Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10.29.14 {week 66}

Hey Family!

Well, to answer your questions, no I have not been transferred.  We kind of assumed there wouldn't be any change in our companionship, seeing as training is a 12 week process and President rarely splits trainers and trainees up in the middle.  Although, the capi really did give Sorella D'Ambrosio a scare when she was on the phone with them.  I think they said something about her "new assignment."  She started sweating and freaking out a little bit.  Haha I can respect a good transfer call prank.  Anyway, so yeah, everything's just staying the same for the next six weeks.  So I'll officially be in Alessandria for my birthday! (*cough*don'tforget*cough*)

What else happened this week?  We set a surprise baptismal date on Thursday!  Do you guys remember that lady, L., that I talked about a few weeks back?  Nigerian.  Train.  Already had a Book of Mormon.  Anyway, we were finally able to see her again and she is SO legit.  We went in and explained the restoration and then we invited her to do all the things: read, pray, come to church... and we were batting 3 for 3, which was pretty good.  There were even enthusiastic head nods involved.  So Sorella D'Ambrosio went for the soft bap invite ("when you know this is true will you be baptized?" basically) and she was all over it.  So I was like, "What the heck!"  (And by that, I obviously mean I was prompted by the Spirit.)  "Will you be baptized on the sixth of December?"  She was stoked.  It was a really cool experience.  Miracles really do happen, folks.

On Friday I was in Genova on a scambio.  It was...interesting.  We've been starting to teach C. and F. the commandments.  Sometimes those can be hard to teach and be taught.  So things are a little rocky with C., the mom, right now.  F. is taking the Word of Wisdom and Tithing and all that stuff like a champ.  But we're really going to focus on helping C. build a stronger foundation so that these things will be easier for her to accept.  They didn't come to church this Sunday, which was kind of frustrating.  But mostly sad.  We still have high hopes though!  Things are strange at the C. household (as a reminder: G. and S. are our 9- and 11-year old new converts, their mom, E. is our investigator).  We showed up last night for a lesson and everyone was freaking out and walking around the neighborhood because apparently some guy had just, basically, tried to kidnap G..  I tried to play it cool because, you know, every person is a child of God, but I really just wanted to go hunt down this guy with them and give him a piece of my mind.  Finally things got settled down and the police went out looking for him and we were able to read the scriptures with them for a little bit.  Anyway, it was just a weird night.  Ever since E. set that really solid bap date, her life has been, like, crumbling all around her.  So we're going to be fasting and praying really hard for her and all of these other special people we're working with.

Anyway, that was my week!  The coming week should be great - I'll be attempting to schedule this coming transfer around scambi and two mission consiglios and a conference and a zone training.  It's gonna be a busy one!  We're excited though.  :)  Thanks for the updates you guys have been sending me.  I know it's hard to take time out of your busy lives to write me, so it really does mean a lot when you do.  Sending lots of love from Italy!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10.22.14 {week 65}

Buongiorno Family!

Welcome to fifth week!  Fifth week is every trainer's favorite week because it's when the baby gets to practice being senior comp for a week.  It's seriously the best.  And Sorella D'Ambrosio is killing it (in a good way).  I guess the biggest change she's noticed is just like...making sure there's stuff to do every day - making appointments with people and stuff.  The other day she was like, "So....when do you call people and set things up?  We always just sit down to do nightly planning and you just tell me what we're doing..."  So I think her eyes are starting to open a bit.  But she's seriously doing an awesome job.  She's answering the phone and starting and ending lessons and all that fun stuff.  She's awesome.

What else has happened this week?  Well we had the great privilege of having the San Remo sorelle come hang out with us on Friday.  Can I just tell you guys how much I ADORE both of these girls I've trained/I'm training?  I'm so lucky.  They got to do the scambio together and I just loved seeing Tokarski take little D'Ambrosio under her wing and truly act like her big sister.  It was awesome.  And I got to do the scambio with Sorella Hibo.  She's from Africa, but moved to Italy when she was, like, five.  So is obviously perfect in the language and is seriously an incredible missionary.  Also, when she speaks (perfect) English, she has the most adorable British accent.  I love it.  Anyway, I learned a ton and we saw all sorts of miracles.  And then that night we all just went to the Molinari's "surprise" party.  They're officially gone and we're all just pretty sad about it...  But the farewell party was really sweet.  I translated all the nice things everyone said about them (they never really got the language down while they were here...) and then we ate a lot and partied like Italians.  Then we went home and the next morning the San Remo sisters left us.  But during this scambio, there was a definite scambio/greenie magic miracle.  Sorella D'Ambrosio set bap dates with two of our progressing investigators.  So, right now we have three really promising bap dates for the month of November.  Pray for them, would you?  Please and thank you.  :)

That's about all that's happening here!  We'll be getting transfer news this Saturday, but we're 99.9% sure that we'll be sticking around here together, seeing as I'm training and all.  Next transfer will be the really interesting one.  Everyone's trying to predict what will happen with us - there are just too many variables.  So we'll see!  Anyway, love you all lots and miss you tons.  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

At the Molinari's surprise party that the ward threw for them.  They're officially gone!  It is so sad and everyone is heartbroken.

We stole one of E.'s cigarette packs to make fake cigarettes with scriptures in them.  Good times.

Me and my baby girls.

Me and Sorella Hibo!  (Sorella Tokarski's current comp who I did the scambio with.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10.15.14 {week 64}

Well hey there, family!

It's been a crazy, but great week.  This week included: flash floods, a trip to Savona, hail, gelato (lots of gelato), orzo (it's a drink here that substitutes coffee.  my comp and i are addicted...not really, but really...), watching a sorella in her second transfer (my dear Sorella Palmer) teach like a boss, watching a sorella in her first transfer (my dear Sorella D'Ambrosio) become an incredible missionary, bike rides in the rain, Sorella D'Ambrosio's first fall on the bike, a man pulling over to make sure she was okay after seeing the fall, watching Italian women come to the aid of D'Ambrosio's skinned knee with all sorts of powders and liquids (still don't know what in the world they were putting on her open wound), lots of pizza, lots of pasta, lots of salami (another addiction we have...), cockroaches (yeah our apartment is just keepin' it classy), teaching one of the best lessons I've ever been a part of on the plan of salvation, making fake cigarettes with scriptures inside instead of tobacco for one of our investigators, a breakfast at the Molinaris this morning (the senior couple that dies next week - I love them to death), and then going "shopping" in their pantry, and so much more.  Sorry for the run-on sentence.  English is no longer my forte.  ;)

Love you all lots and I hope you have a great week!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Me and Baby #1

When one tag just isn't enough...

On the scambio in Savona, I found my home! was good...

Our night in beautiful Savona!

Look what I found on a random wall in Acqui Terme.

Sometimes when we go to teach G and S, S insists on doing my hair...

Random church in Alessandria.

My favorite corner in Alessandria.

My favorite corner, Part 2

 My favorite corner, Part 3

When one cross just isn't enough...

With views like this, I may never come home..

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

10.08.14 {week 63}

Yay!  I love news about babies being born!  Glad to hear all went well with the delivery and that little Ethan is already stealing hearts.  Can't wait to meet him!

It's been a really great week!  Last Thursday we went to Milano so that I could go to Mission Consiglio.  It was fun and we learned a TON.  I always feel equal parts pumped and guilty after leaving those things.  Because I realize how much better I could/should be doing, but I'm also excited to get started.  

Saturday was a day of MIRACLES.  We had only tentative plans set up in Acqui - a little paesino, like, 30 minutes in train - we hadn't received confirmations with anyone we were wanting to see there, but we felt like we should just go anyway.  And it ended up being for two really great reasons!  On the way there, we talked to this awesome lady named P.  I told her all about the restoration and she was really interested and wants us to bring her a Book of Mormon.  So that was miracle #1.  Then we got to Acqui, and got a whole bunch of no-shows.  So we went back to the train station to head back to Alessandria in time to watch Conference and while waiting for the train, I started talking to this lady from Africa with this huge American flag on her hat.  It was blingin.  Miracle #2.  She loves Americans and loves speaking English, so we hit it off really well.  Then we got on the train and sat by her and finally were able to start talking about the gospel.  (Sorella D'Ambrosio was in English-speaking heaven!)  We start going off about prophets and Christ and the First Vision and I pull out my Book of Mormon to start talking about it and she was like, "Wait!  I have that book!"  Turns out she had bought in Africa, like, 3 years ago.  She moved to Italy a year ago for school (she's 26) and brought it with her because she said she always keeps it with her Bible because she knows it's an important book.  But she's never opened it.  So we're going to go teach her more about it this Saturday.  It was an awesome experience and reminded us that Heavenly Father really is constantly placing prepared people in our path.  

Then we headed to the church to watch the Womens broadcast.  And for the last half hour, two of our investigators showed up, ended up staying also for most of the Saturday morning session and THEN came back the next night to watch some more.  We were shocked and so happy!  And, mamma mia, wasn't conference INCREDIBLE?  Well, what I heard of it anyway.  We downloaded the audio of all the talks so that we can listen to them at home during lunch and in the morning and stuff.  I'm really excited.  I feel like I was less focused this time around because we were always going in and out of the room, welcoming people, saying goodbye to people, watching half in English, half in Italian, and missing the entire Sunday afternoon session all together.  I was really touched by Elder Holland's talk though.  That has been one of my favorite one-liners from the Book of Mormon for a while now..."For behold, are we not all beggars?"  I also really loved Elder Oaks' talk, when he talked about not only having patience, but being kind at the same time.  It seems to me that patience without kindness is just waiting.  Anyway, it was great.  I got kind of sad when I realized this would be my last General Conference on the mission.  General Conference is just different as a missionary.  I can't really explain it.  But hopefully next General Conference I'll be able to go to one of the sessions and maybe that will start to make up for the dull pain that I'll no longer be a missionary anymore.  Eh, we'll see.

Anyway, it's been a great P-day.  Sorella D'Ambrosio and I were up late last night murdering our house full of insects.  It's fine.  At least we're able to laugh about it.  But, we're both a little tired today.  We're heading down to beautiful Savona in about an hour to spend the day tomorrow with the sisters there.  I'm so excited.  It's going to be an awesome scambio.    Alright, love you all lots.  Have a great week!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10.01.14 {week 62}

Ciao Famiglia!
Sorry, I don't have tons of time, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about the incredible week we had.

It started off with a scambio on Thursday.  I got to hang out with Sorella Ostvig, who just came in with Sorella D'Ambrosio.  Sorella Ostvig is serving in Torino, but we got to hang out in Alessandria all day while my baby headed to Torino.  (Can we just talk for a second about the fact that I have been in this same stake for 9 months??  Torino and Alessandria are both in the Alessandria stake.  I may never leave...)  Anyway, it was an awesome scambio.  I was actually a little jealous of her, because she just got here, but her Italian is already incredible.

On Friday we were able to head to the church and help N. prep the church for the wedding.  It was lots of fun but brought out the wedding planner in me and reminded me of all the things I want done...differently when it's my turn.  (Amy, don't forget our plan...)  (Another note for Amy:  I got your guys' package on Monday!  Thank you thank you thank you!  I loved it so much.  It was just perfect.  I was showing that Instagram book off to everyone.  And, holy smokes, that book that Ava wrote me is literally one of my new prized possessions.  Please tell her and your whole family thank you.  Love you guys lots!)

And then Saturday was the wedding!  I was the pianist and since the bride showed up a good hour late, I was sitting there playing prelude hymns for an entire hour.  Without stopping (because that's just awkward when the pianist know).  Haha it was strangely exhausting and reminded me that I could never be a professional pianist.  But the wedding went off without a hitch.

The next day was Sunday and E. CAME TO CHURCH.  For all three hours!  We were on cloud nine.  While we were doing weekly planning on Friday, we really felt like we needed to do a special fast with her to help her quit smoking and drinking caffe.  So we did this special fast and it went really well.  She feels like the right date for her to be baptized is November 22nd.  So we will be working really hard to help her reach that goal.  We know she can do it.  :)
On Monday we headed to Milano where we had New Missionary Training.  It was lots of fun and reminded us why we're here.  I was able to see old friends and meet new ones.  It was the best.
Tuesday was pretty normal!  We were literally just running around Alessandria all day.  I love those days.
I'm exhausted, but happy.  :)  I like it.  Tomorrow we'll be heading to Milano again for mission consiglio (Sorella D'Ambrosio is coming too, but then will be hanging out with some sisters in Milano while I'm at the conference).  And we're going with the capi in their CAR.  No trains for us tomorrow!  We're excited.
Did y'all pray to have a missionary experience?  I really hope so.  When these experiences come, I'd love to hear about them.  :)  Love you lots!

Sorella Gunnerson 


Us with one of my favorite people on the planet, N.!  (Try not to mind his crazy eyes...)

You know you're in Italy when.... (At the Milano Centrale train station)